3:08 AM GMT
*We Are The Ocean @ Kasbah, Coventry*
Firstly, know this;
This post will not even come close to doing justice to what I experienced tonight. Not just what I saw and heard, but what I felt. Some of you out there will get what I mean by that, and you know who you are, because, subconsciously or physically, you’re nodding right now. Having said that, I’ll give a darn good try at a) describing my night, and b) going through some of the key moments, for me.
We Are The Ocean are my favourite band. Partly because the music they make ticks all the boxes that I search for, partly because I love their name, the fact they’re from home shores, breaking out from amongst a shoal of, truthfully, some rather dreadful and weak ‘fish’, partly because of their awesome artwork and their humble attitude towards their fans, and partly because they are astounding to watch perform live…and you’ll find no exaggeration here!
Well, for those of you who didn’t already know, this was my 4th time seeing them live, and my friend and I were gobsmacked when I discovered that the tickets for this gig were just £5. Five pounds….nowadays, that’ll get you a student cinema ticket, a large McDonalds, or a well-picked item of clothing hidden in the rails of a summer sale. Let me just clarify before I move on that tonight I was granted so much more than that. To think that what I’ve just come back from set me back the amount of money some people make each second they work just beggars belief.
Anyhow, we’ll hurry along, as my bed is calling.
So we arrived in Coventry around half hour before the doors were due to open, and having bought KFC for dinner (food swag), we stopped up outside the venue. There were half a dozen people there, and then I noticed that 2 of them were members of the band….I was 6 feet away from them, and a pane of glass and a car door was all that stood between me, and sharing my over-priced popcorn chicken with singer/rhythm guitarist Liam.
Having decided leaving the car parked in the loading bay outside the club to be a bad idea, we drove 3 minutes up the road to find a spot in a quiet cul-de-sac, and hurriedly walked back. We were in such a hurry I forgot to grab my camera from the car, though, considering how things worked out, I’m sort of glad, as I was able to focus more on the music and the atmosphere.
We get back to the club to find that the 2 musicians had gone, and the queue had lengthened, though we were still within the first 20 people inside.
Bouncer takes ticket.
Tears off authenticity strip.
Hands stub back.
Hello, lifelong souvenir.
Missing them outside didn’t matter, though. What with the venue being a club of sorts, most peoples first interest was getting a drink from the bar; not us, friend. We headed straight to the barricade and got ourselves a prime spot from which we could view what was about to unfold before us…
(Note: This shot was taken after the support bands gear had been cleared!)
Ah yes, the support bands…
The first, ironically called
Finishing Band (I think, it was hard to understand him) **I have since learned that they were called Finish Him!** were an interesting batch, not unlike if The Chariot and Feed The Rhino were to meet in a rehearsal space and batter each others instruments. +1 point for their breakdowns, they were pretty hench.
However, -1 point for the fact that the lead singer, who was a rather large and burly fellow, climbed the barrier, trapping my poor little finger between the metal of the barrier and….his groin. ewwww. That was not a highlight, and neither was the bassist, who, upon coming into close proximity, left me fearful that the wild swinging about of his bass guitar would catch me at any moment and tear half of my face off. But it didn’t. So I shan’t deduct another point for that.
Second support band, however; not so lucky. Comprising 5 members aged roughly 18-20, I didn’t catch their name in full, but it involved the word Murder (great start), and they were dressed head to toe in black, and had smeared black war paint on themselves, with the finishing touch coming in the form of a wide smile, again in black, their colour choice of the day, and I dare say every day, perhaps? …anyway, think something akin to the Joker in the Dark Knight, and you’ll be on the right track…
Having taken all that into account, I knew we were not about to be entertained by a group doing covers of Elton John classics, or golden hits from the Beatles.
Their music did not appeal to me whatsoever, though I can only applaud them for getting a slot warming up the crowd for We Are The Ocean (who, now I think of it, sound nothing like either support band)…I think their gain of said opportunity might be largely due to them being a local band.
Almost there. After having seen the drummer hit the lady next to me with his woeful attempt at throwing a drumstick out to the crowd, they were ushered offstage, the roadies and tech crew did their thing, and then;
My favourite band appeared from behind a curtain, and the best night of my life shot into motion. As they kick-started into the first song, I looked at my friend (Michael, the very same one I blogged about earlier in fact), and we shared a look as if to say,
“Enduring those other two bands was totally worth it for this.”
I mean, they could have played one song and then left, and for the money we paid, I’d be happy; but they had far more planned. By the time the first chorus rolled around, the room was already ablaze with throats being forced to breaking point, in order that their participation was guaranteed to be heard by the ones whipping us into this frenzy. I sang, and shouted, as though this was the last time I would ever hear their music. And it continued that way. They barrelled through favourite after favourite, tracks I’ve never heard them play live before, and tracks I know so well I could predict how they would play it.
Despite that knowledge, I still enjoyed it more than any other time I’ve seen them, because being there, at the front, made it feel like it could have been a show just for me. Being a guy who is not very tall, I rarely get amazing views at gigs, but this time was different. This was something personal, and it struck my very core…I honestly could have cried.
Then, during a particularly boisterous song, Dan climbed over the barricade and headed off behind me as he tried to start a ruckus amongst the more volatile crowd members, and when he returned, he put his hands on my shoulders and patted them; the sort of reaffirming pat that, in my mind at least, says,
“Hey friend, I’m glad you’re here to share this with us.”
Now, I’ll post video sometime of what I was a part of, but as I wrap this up I want to explain one more occurrence. As I said before, they are a humble band, and fully recognise, as well as appreciate, that without their fans they would not be here today. Well to honour them, they usually play the first single they ever released, from almost 5 years ago.
As Dan introduced it, he asked who had heard of them before;
A deafening roar signalled the reply; Check.
Who had been to see them live before?
He then introduced the song title and said something in the form of,
“To those of you who have been with us since day 1,”
at which point he looked directly into my eyes, pointed at me and finished his sentence -
“This one’s for you guys.”
at that moment, my heart just sort of exploded in my chest.
Doubtless, many if not all will say he had no intention of addressing that to me, and you probably would be right, but you will never take the sheer perfection of that moment away from me;
In the midst of a wall of sound, soaring guitar lines, rumbling bass, and pounding drums…surrounded by sweating bodies thrashing around and sharing the same natural high that I was….right in the middle of all that,
the lead singer of my all-time favourite band,
said that while he was looking, and pointing at me.
I will take that moment to my grave.
Their flawless, note-for-note spotless set was finished with a rendition of ‘The Waiting Room’, my track of choice from their latest album, and a performance with which we all gave our utmost in contribution to the vocals, shredding our voices, caring not for the parched, sore throats that would undoubtedly loom the following morning.
The perfect finale to a perfect show from a perfect band.
After the show, and a quick stop by the merch table to buy myself another t-shirt, we headed back to the car, soaked through with sweat, immune to the cold gifted by the frosty night air, and chatting excitedly about the sheer intensity and level of awesomeness that we had just been a part of. The journey home was joyous, sharing leftover roadtrip junk food, buzzing with haywire thoughts about what to put on facebook, and what to tweet, which picture to upload to which site first…and of course, thinking about the inevitable post I would type out to you guys, whom I cherish the most, and laughing to myself at how long I knew it would turn out to be…and I’ve not disappointed myself, I must say. It’s just gone 3.30am and I’ve been sat dictating this to my hands for almost 2 hours, transforming my mountain of thoughts and emotions into a flurry of movements over the keyboard.
Like I said,
You were warned.
So now I’ll head to bed, my ears still ringing, it hurts when I cough, and I’m not tired in the slightest. That’s fine, I can lay there, eyelids prised open by the recurring memories I now have thanks to We Are The Ocean. See you next time, fellas…and though they’ll never read this, they’ve helped me in so many ways they, as well as I, wouldn’t know where to start…so here’s to you lads; you’re incredible, epic, inspiring, tremendous, colossal..the impact you have upon me is meteoric…and therefore, i’ll simply finish, welling up slightly, by saying,
Thankyou for giving me faith in music that means something, and, through your sonic perfection, musically recreating things my heart would never otherwise have the courage to express.
I owe you.
*le snore*……hey, wake up! I’m done now. :)
4:33 PM GMT
A song lyric that matches your mood.
It’s a day late but these should do the trick -
Take the time to enjoy all the moments, Don’t waste your life Next thing it’s all over, Before I die I’ll make sure i’m alive.
We Are The Ocean - Before I Die
I certainly am enjoying my life at the moment, with God at work in my life and opportunities to share His love wherever I go!
Also, i’m currently on my way to see them live for the third time…
nothing can spoil my mood. :]]]
blessings to all, in His name!!